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Online Nutrition Courses with Financial Aid: Find Top Programs

An online nutrition course sets you up for success. This guide details financial aid-friendly programs and degree-specific scholarships to help cover the cost.

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Author: Angela Myers
Editor: Kari Scare

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A smiling nutritionist in a white uniform holds a clipboard showing a diagram of various fruits and vegetables while speaking with a patient whose back is towards the camera. The setting appears to be a modern office with bookshelves and plants in the background.

A nutrition degree can lead to a career helping people take control of their health and improving community well-being. Before you can get to that professional future, though, you must contend with the cost of the program. Many schools, government organizations, and nonprofits offer financial aid opportunities to help.

Receiving financial aid is quite common as long as you fill out the appropriate applications and apply to financial aid-friendly nutrition programs. In fact, research from the National Center for Education Statistics suggests 72% of undergraduate students and 74% of graduate students receive some form of financial aid. This guide helps you become part of that percentage and ensures you have enough financial aid to cover your undergraduate or master’s degree in nutrition. Continue reading for a glimpse into financial aid-friendly programs that are affordable, scholarships specifically for nutrition students, and actionable tips to make your application stand out.

An academic future without financial stress is possible, and you’re in the right place to make it a reality.

Program Profiles: Inside Online Nutrition Degrees with Financial Aid

When evaluating online nutrition degrees, available financial aid along with the tuition price should be a key consideration. Some programs offer generous aid packages while others offer very little. To help you discern the financial aid-friendly programs, consider the five programs below with low tuition and generous aid opportunities highlighted below.

Liberty University

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Two of the best online nutrition degrees are from Liberty University. Students choose from a graduate certificate or a master’s degree in nutrition, and both options are available online with classes divided into eight-week semesters since the shorter semesters make it easier for students to customize and adjust their schedules as needed. The certificate covers the basics of health, metabolism, and nutrition while the full master’s program dives deeper into these subjects. Students in the master’s program also can learn about epidemiology, community nutrition, and how nutrition works for child, geriatric, and adult populations. Along with a robust academic curriculum, Liberty also offers generous financial aid packages. In the form of scholarships, grants, and fellowships, 80% of Liberty’s online students receive some form of aid. In addition, veterans and active military personnel along with their spouses receive a tuition discount.

Purdue University

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Another great option is the Online Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Purdue University’s global campus. This program covers foundational knowledge like food safety, the basics of nutrition, nutrition analysis, and nutrition planning and management. Courses also cover nutrition for specific populations, such as geriatric patients or children, and nutritional counseling. Students can also combine their bachelor’s with a master’s degree, saving time and money compared to completing these degrees separately.

Purdue also makes receiving financial aid easy. For most scholarships, grants, and fellowships, students only need to fill out the initial program application and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Purdue automatically calculates what aid students are eligible for and includes that information in a student’s acceptance letter. Along with school-provided aid, the school also offers one-on-one financial counseling to help students understand the stipulations of any loans they receive and how to find additional financial aid opportunities.

University of Arizona

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The Nutritional Sciences Bachelor of Science at the University of Arizona balances flexibility, affordability, and quality. This program is commonly ranked among the best in the country and is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Students in this four-year bachelor’s program learn about nutritional biology, metabolism, and food science. The curriculum also covers nutrition assessment, planning, and management as well as the connection between mental health and nutrition. Along with foundational courses, students can specialize in nutrition or dietetics. No matter which option a student chooses, all courses can be completed online to cut down on transportation costs and student fees.

The University of Arizona provides the same tuition rate – ranging from $500 to $600 per credit for undergraduates, depending on the number of classes taken per semester – for in-state and out-of-state students. After students submit FAFSAs to be considered for financial aid, they are automatically considered for the University of Arizona’s ample scholarships and grants, including ones specifically for online students.

University of Connecticut

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If you’re looking for an affordable and rigorous nutrition program, consider the University of Connecticut. The school offers a Precision Nutrition certificate and a Master of Science in Personalized Nutrition. The graduate certificate is perfect for those who want to dip their toes into the world of nutrition, and the three-credit course can be applied to the master’s degree. The certificate costs $2,775 while the full master’s costs just over $27,000. For both options, the university offers a tuition payment plan where students make payments instead of paying the entire bill upfront. The University of Connecticut also has scholarships and fellowships, including some specifically for nutrition students. Since both these programs can be completed online, students also save on transportation costs and student fees.

University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota offers a high-quality, affordable, online nutrition program. The Human Nutrition Bachelor of Science covers foundational knowledge and allows for specialization. Available concentrations include health promotion and nutrition science. There’s also room to explore additional interests through electives. Tuition is about $391 per credit, but the university awards $105 million in student aid each year. So, there are ample scholarships and grants available. First-year students and transfer students are automatically considered for many scholarship opportunities, and the financial aid office can help students find additional aid applications at any time during their degrees. The University of North Dakota also offers a discount for veterans and active military personnel to bring down the tuition cost.

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How to Pay for Your Nutrition Degree

While it’s important to consider what individual universities offer in terms of financial aid, you should also consider opportunities through nonprofits, government organizations, and private companies. Scholarships, grants, and loans – the most common types of financial aid – are described below along with opportunities specifically for nutrition students.

Scholarships

Almost every nutrition student should apply for scholarships or awards based on academic merit, financial need, professional interests, or some combination of the three. Government organizations, private companies, and nonprofits provide scholarships, and the money awarded doesn’t have to be paid back.

While plentiful, many general scholarships have a plethora of applicants. To increase your chances of receiving scholarships, apply for those allocated to nutrition students. Nutrition-specific scholarships are tailored to your professional interests and often have a smaller applicant pool. The three below are good examples of what nutrition-specific scholarships look like.

Grants

Like scholarships, grants are financial aid that do not need to be repaid. Unlike scholarships, though, grants often have additional requirements. Their stipulations range from taking specific classes to conducting original research to participating in a summer internship program.

For nutrition students, the stipulations are often hidden bonuses that provide opportunities to gain experience in your field and network with other nutritionists. There are often more grants available for nutrition students at the graduate level, though some do exist for undergraduate nutrition students.

Loans

Loans are perhaps the most common financial aid type. More than four in ten adults who went to college, according to the Federal Reserve, have student loan debt. Yet, not all student loans are created equal. While all require you to pay back the money, some also require interest, and those interest rates vary quite a bit. Often, the best loans are subsidized ones from the government since they have lower rates compared to ones offered by banks and private companies. While no-interest loans are rare, they can be found through organizations like the Abe and Annie Seibel Foundation.

Checklist: Financial Aid Eligibility & Application

As a college student, staying up-to-date on different aid opportunities and application requirements contributes to your financial wellness. Use the checklist below to make it easier to find and apply for financial aid opportunities. Each statement can be tailored to different scholarship, grant, and loan applications.

Complete the FAFSA Early

Before looking at any individual applications, fill out the FAFSA. Hosted by the federal government, this form captures your current financial situation and determines your level of financial need. Government agencies, colleges, and private organizations utilize the FAFSA to award need-based aid.

Thoroughly Review Eligibility Criteria & Requirements

It’s easy to skim the instructions and start typing your essays and answers to get through aid applications as fast as possible, but this deceptive time-saver can also lead to filling out applications you aren’t eligible for or forgetting to add the required information. Instead, thoroughly read all review instructions, paying attention to requirements and eligibility. If you identify as male and find a scholarship for women, for example, the eligibility criteria let you know you shouldn’t apply.

Check Deadlines and Apply Early

Take note of any deadlines when reading application instructions and add each to your calendar, so you submit applications on time and maximize your chances of receiving aid. You can also create weekly tasks or milestones for each application to ensure you complete each one with time to spare.

Gather All Necessary Documents

Once you know an application’s deadline, start gathering the necessary documents. This could include high school and/or college transcripts, financial information, and information on extracurricular and leadership positions. Each application requires different documents and information, so it’s important to read the instructions thoroughly.

Receive Feedback on Supplemental Materials

Many scholarships, grants, and loans require essays, statements of purpose, and short-answer questions. Be sure to not rush through these written components since they’re where your story shines and sets you apart from other applicants. To make sure they are compelling and clear, ask a friend, teacher, or family member to read over them and provide feedback. If you’re already a university student, take these supplemental materials to your university’s writing center for evaluation and input.

Review Award Letters

When aid acceptance and rejection notifications are pouring in, take time to celebrate and then thoroughly examine your financial situation. Consider the aid package provided by each university as well as any other financial aid awarded. A holistic look allows you to determine which schools are within and outside of your price range.